3 Reviews (Lock & Mori, Fairest, and Lady Thief)

I’m trying to keep myself active on goodreads.com so I’ve been making sure to review books as I read them… except… I read three over the weekend. So here’s the books I read! I’ll try not to post three at a time again…



Lock & Mori
I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes. I LOVED Sherlock Holmes. I’m not sure what to say about this book. Taken as an enjoyable YA book… it was cute. I won’t say it was the most exciting, most gripping novel I’ve ever read, but it kept me reading.


On the other hand, Sherlock wasn’t Sherlock. Now let me explain that. Moriarty “Mori” did more to solve the mystery than Sherlock did. When I pick up a Sherlock Holmes mystery, whether it is an Arthur Conan Doyle, a reprint, a rewrite, a reimagining, whatever, there are certain things as a reader I expect. And one of them is for “the world’s greatest detective” to be the one solving the mystery.

Yeah. No. Didn’t happen.

I was okay with Moriarty being a girl (I thought that was a cute twist). I was okay with it being set in modern times (yay for making Sherlock Holmes reachable to a new generation!) I was even okay with Sherlock and Moriarty teaming up (hey why not make mortal enemies be partners) and teenagers. But Sherlock NOT being the one to crack the case?? What is going on??

Anyway. Overall the writing was good, the storyline decent. The characters weren’t terrible (although moody as many teenagers are). (Sherlock was more a Cumberbatch-esque Holmes than an RDJ for those who care and understand.) And I honestly think this is not the book to introduce Sherlock Holmes to a new generation.

Is there going to be a sequel? The end seemed rather open ended.



Reimaged fairy tales seem to be all the rage right now. This is an even newer twist on the old tale though as Marissa Meyer not only reimagines it, but adds in science fiction elements.

Fairest is the companion novel to Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and I absolutely recommend reading the series first, at least the first three books. It’s been a while since I read them and even with having read them, I had to stop and remind myself of what happened in the other novels. But I found myself going “Ooooh so that’s how this is related and so and so comes in” as I was reading. Meyer has created a well-woven and intricate society that keeps you turning the pages until the very end.

Levana is the younger sister of the Queen of Luna, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. Follow along as she goes from the overlooked young princess to the cruel queen readers are familiar with in the Lunar Chronicles. Although there were times I felt sympathetic to her, most of the time I was horrified by her actions or wondered how people could not see through what she was doing when they were away from her influence.

This is absolutely not the book to start with (even though it is listed as a prequel). Start with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, then read this book before Winter. This is great characterization and gives you some insight into Levana, but I think the character would be spoiled if you read it first.



Lady Thief

I will preface this review with the explanation that I didn’t realize until I was reading that this book is part of a trilogy and that it is book two. But I don’t think that makes these comments any less valid.

I picked this book because I enjoy the Robin Hood myth. After King Arthur, it’s probably my favorite myth from medieval times. The idea that Marian is Will Scarlet just put the icing on the cake (I have always enjoyed Will Scarlet).

And then I started reading. And I almost put the book down. No really. I’m not sure what the author was thinking, but I had to keep stopping and putting the book down and walking away. I’m actually impressed with myself for getting through the entire book. Honestly if I had opened the book in the store and not just read the teaser; I probably would not have borrowed it from the library.

The author uses first person narrative to push the story along, but has the habit of replacing “was” with “were” throughout the story. It consistently managed to throw this reader out of the story and served to not make the point of showing a lower class, but just force my brain to self-correct. Overall it ruined the story.

Despite this, the characters were enough to keep me reading as I wanted to see how Ms. Gaughen would tie them all together. She wove them beautifully, designing characters that made me almost look beyond the oddity of the writing.

Still I’ll think twice about reading the other two books in the trilogy.


Masque Review

I promised I would review this once I read it. And wow, it was fabulous! I loved it! If I just wrote a review it would mostly be rambling that was “Oh my god go read!” so I’m copying the review from goodreads/amazon for you. Seriously though! It’s on sale right now! Totally worth it!


Beauty and the Beast with a twist. Beauty isn’t a helpless girl with her nose stuck in a book or bargained off by her father. Oh no, she gets herself into and out of her own trouble. And the Beast isn’t hiding away in a castle where he’s a social outcast. He’s a lord of a manor and captain of the watch.

Set in an imagined country, Masque (one of The Two Monarchies Sequence), follows Lady Isabella Farrah as she creates mayhem. She does a nice job of cleaning up her messes behind her (she’s always right, even when she isn’t) and the side characters create a perfect counterpoint to her adventures.

Lord Pecus is Isabella’s Beast and at first it seems he’s not at all interested in her or in the idea of changing his life (despite his deadpan marriage proposal when they first meet which had me laughing so hard I scared the cat!) He soon has his world turned around and upside down as Isabella worms her way into his life, his job, and even his home!

Honestly one of the best re-writes of a fairy tale I have ever read, can’t wait to sink into more of the series (or even more of Ms. Gingell’s books… I have another waiting when I get caught up on some other stuff). And honestly, the dedication page just makes it even better:
“This one is for me. It was written entirely for my own selfish amusement.

You can still enjoy it, though. That’s okay”.

Pick it up now as a Kindle book for 99 cents. It’s worth way more!

Introducing Nerd Cactus

Normally I prompt new books or authors that have new books coming out, but I have two friends that are working on building a platform (not unlike me) for their books. They are in the process of editing their first book together (Killing Mercutio) and although I don’t know much about the book yet, I have been following along on their wordpress site as they write, edit, and just generally talk about things Shakespeare and literary.

Now I know what you’re saying “Shakespeare”?! Who reads Shakespeare once they aren’t forced to?! First off, you’d be surprised how many things you read, see, say, and love are based on Shakespeare. I’m not going to get into that though, I’ll let the girls tell you about it (just peruse some of their posts to find out.) Second of all, Shakespeare can be FUN! No, let me restate that, Shakespeare IS FUN! Yeah, I know… I can see/ hear all the teenagers I’ve taught screaming. Then I’d remind them that we read a graphic novel (yes, a COMIC book) for Romeo and Juliet and watched a modern movie so we didn’t miss any of the nuances. So yes, Shakespeare is FUN!

To get back to the actual point of this post… While the girls do not (yet) have anything published, they do have a strong showing in social media. You can follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Or do what I do and enjoy their posts (almost daily) on wordpress. They are Nerd Cactus in all three places.



Word Press Blog

Introducing WR Gingell

I’d like you all to meet WR Gingell. She’s got a delightful book entitled Masque which is on sale this month along with some other books (which are not on sale). Although I haven’t yet had the chance to read more than a sample (what can I say, I’m behind on my reading list), I’m going to let her words speak for herself and I’ll be back later with a review!


cover image


MASQUE buy links (99c special for January):
Amazon: http://geni.us/34k2
Kobo: http://geni.us/1gro
iTunes: http://geni.us/3hlQ
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/masque-w-r-gingell/1121106001?ean=2940151885416


Author Bio:
W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.
Author Page Links:
Website: http://www.wrgingell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wrgingell/
Twitter: @WRGingell
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/W.R.-Gingell/e/B00HMM6VX4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1451646677&sr=8-1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7849833.W_R_Gingell

Excerpts from MASQUE:
“I think I would like to see your face,” he said thoughtfully. “Would it stretch politeness too far to ask you to remove your mask?”

“After you, my lord.”

I thought he laughed at me, but again it was hard to tell. “I don’t think I understand you, my lady.”

I looked at him steadily for a moment, my chin propped up in my palm. “Forgive me if I seem rude, but I think you understand me very well.”

He sat forward again, leaning his forearms on his knees. His bulk was so considerable that this maneuver put his face only inches from mine, and I found his eyes uncomfortably piercing. “Very well, my lady. Remove your mask, and I will remove mine.”

I was burning with curiosity that was tempered by a touch of self-satisfaction that I was about to accomplish something that even Delysia had not been able to accomplish, but I untied my mask with fingers that were steady enough.

“Well, my lord?”

“Charming,” he said softly, deliberately misunderstanding. I found myself blushing for the first time in many years. It was annoying to know that he’d intended as much. “How old are you, Lady Farrah?”

“Very nearly thirty, my lord,” I told him composedly, ignoring the rudeness of the question. “And a confirmed old maid, so you’ve no need to waste your compliments on me.”

“What brings you to the Ambassadorial Ball?”

“The proposed militia merger, my lord; and I believe you’re stalling.”

He gave me a slow, considering smile, and I wondered if the face beneath the mask was smiling also. “Is that so? Are you sure you want to see my face?”

Courtesy compelled me to say, albeit with reluctance: “Not if you’re unwilling, my lord.”

Lord Pecus sat silent for a moment as if in thought, his mask unreadable.

“Hm. I don’t believe I am,” he said at last, as if he had surprised himself.

“Try not to scream, my lady.”

If he had said it with the slightest theatricality, I would have laughed and gone back to the ballroom, content not to know what his face really looked like. But he said it unemotionally, a plain warning; and I had to take myself firmly to task for the quickly accelerating beat of my heart as he removed the charms that kept his mask in place. I settled my chin a little more firmly in my palm and waited, watching the process with some interest. I had not much talent for magic, and my knowledge was almost as slight: my training had mostly to do with international policy and diplomatic processes.

At last he seemed to be done. He raised both hands to remove the mask – beautiful hands, strong and bare of rings – and it came away cleanly. For a moment I thought he had yet another mask beneath: firelight played on tawny brown hair – no, fur!- in a face that looked like the worst parts of wolf and bear mixed. I blinked once, realising in that instant that it was his face, his real face, and no mask. His mask must be magic indeed to have hidden that snout under the pretence of a plain common-or-garden human nose.

“I see,” I said into the silent warmth of the room. I dropped my hand back to the arm of the chair and let a small sigh escape. “That explains a good deal.”


A voice spoke behind me, startlingly close. “Lady Farrah.”

His voice was an unfamiliar tenor tone, with a light, lilting touch to it that sounded as if it could rise to the pitch of madness without much provocation. I heard him draw in a deep breath, very close behind me now, and came to the disturbing conclusion that he was smelling my hair.

“I believe you have the advantage of me,” I said quietly. Movement teased my periphery, but I looked steadfastly ahead, refusing to turn my head.

“Don’t you want to know who I am?”

Petulance. I said, hardly daring to breathe: “That would ruin the suspense.”

He laughed. “I knew I liked you! Why did they tie you up?”

“They didn’t want me to run away.”

Even a child of ten years would have protested that I hadn’t given a proper answer, but he didn’t. The cold feeling in my stomach spread in an icy rush to my outer extremities: I was at the mercy of a man whose homicidal mania was governed by a childlike whimsy.

The movement in my peripheral vision died away as he moved behind me again. “Did you know them?”

“Barely.” I had the distinct impression that this man would know if I lied to him, and so I told the exact truth. “A countryman of mine was killed a short while ago, and we had reason to believe that it was in connection with a leak in our covert affairs. Those two were encouraging me not to follow up the investigation.”

“Oh.” It sounded as though he was thinking. At length, he said: “I didn’t kill him for that. You’re playing with me, aren’t you? You know it was me.”

“As soon as I heard Claude die,” I said, nodding. “But I don’t know why you did it.”

He chuckled mischievously. “I’m not going to tell you. You have to figure it out for yourself.”

“How delightful!” I managed to say. My throat was becoming steadily drier, but I didn’t dare so much as lick my lips to moisten them. I knew instinctively that he would take it for a sign of weakness.

“Who’s that at the door?” There was a sudden scuffle of dust as he spun sharply to face the door. “Someone’s coming. A little girl.”

I closed my eyes. Vadim.

“It’s my maid,” I said. “I would prefer if you did not kill her.”